With Khans of Tarkir around the corner, it’s time to look at what it could mean for Commander. Fortunately, the eponymous khans will be present and ready to represent their clans. One of them is Narset, Enlightened Master, belonging to the clan The Jeskai Way, a group of fighting monks. She’s not huge for a 6 mana card, but she has some very interesting abilities.
First of all, she has hexproof. This is always worth a look when you go for a voltron-style commander. There is also first strike, which is not that useful, but still helps her to get in there and live to tell the tale. The main attraction is her ability though. She exiles the top four cards of your deck, and then allow you to cast non-creature spells she just exiled. This opens up the possibility to use a lot of combat tricks.
But that’s not all. It also helps you find aura’s and equipment. Yes, you only get to play those after combat, but it makes her very prepared for her next attack. She’ll quickly be even harder to remove when she has some Totem Armor, or some outright Indestructibility. Her offensive capabilities can be pushed through some Battle Mastery or even the awesome power of Eldrazi Conscription.
Just like Anax and Cymede, she’s also a good commander to work with Sunforger. Power 3 and first strike make sure of that. The Jeskai have the “Prowess” ability which triggers off non-creature spells being played. Similarly to Anax and Cymede’s heroic trigger, this helps your monks to grow larger temporarilly when you enchant them or use combat tricks.
Since Narset helps prowess mostly by using instants, the Sunforger will be a natural fit. The magic hammer recently got another upgrade with Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient, so it won’t be hard to create a flurry of blows while your oversized warrior monk. The Jeskai have many tricks at their disposal, but timing the various abilities efficiently will take some skill.
All in all, Narset is an interesting commander. There aren’t a lot of alternatives for her colours; Only Numot, Ruhan and Zedruu qualify so far and Narset has a distinct play style compared to these other commanders. Six mana is still a lot for a combination that can’t rely on efficient ramp, though. But once you get the ball roling, she’ll soon be an unstoppable force.